Q&A with Rick Gardiner about Embracing Change Part One
That’s great, that’s visionary stuff. That was a weird time for printers since we were just hearing about Web-to-print. Printers hated the business model of only taking a percentage of the sale because no one was self-hosting. The printers that stayed the course then were Vista Print and Mimeo.com, the ones that are big and strong now. I think now there’s a similar message to those guys.
Even though we started out as a print focused business (print-design and print-production) we were always positioned as an agency, but there are a lot of parallels. There are a lot of agencies going out of business who can’t keep up with the times, which results in consolidation in the industry. While there are some agencies that have turned the corner and are successful and thriving, there are just as many who are struggling because that pace of change is so rapid. If you try to get on now, it’s pretty tough—unless you’re ready to make a big commitment.
How would you get a printer to make that leap now?
From a knowledge standpoint you can get up to speed fairly quickly. If you think about mobile marketing, two years ago it was all about iPhones, but today it’s all about Droids. Droids are engulfing the Apple market. Apple is a major player, but we’re looking to bring people on with Android skills, and they didn’t exist a year and a half ago. One of the other things happening is the collapsing of layers within the industry. You have printers offering agency services. You have agencies who are offering studio production services. You’ve got clients who are looking to innovate. Then you have automation. It’s a crazy time right now. It is an opportunity for people to evolve and take on services that five years ago people wouldn’t think would have a leg to stand on. But today I don’t think anything is out of the question.